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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

EDUCATION IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE         87

throne with the firm determination to re-establish paganism.   In
his youth he had been an earnest student of letters and of neo-
Platonism, and his apostasy from a religion which was associated
for him with the murder of most of his kinsfolk was credited to
these studies.   Consequently, his accession was with good reason
welcomed by men like Libanius, the last great sophist, as promis-
ing the triumph of both religion and culture.   In the first instance,
indeed, Julian was ostentatiously tolerant of all creeds and made
no attempt to persecute the Christians.    But he showed his
antagonism to Christianity quite plainly in an edict he issued in
362, forbidding Christians to teach in the schools.   " Did not
Homer, and Hesiod, and Demosthenes, and Herodotus, and
Thucydidcs, and Isocratcs, and Lysias look on the gods as the
guides to all instruction ?" he asks in a letter relating to this
decree.*    "It is unreasonable, it seems to me, for those who
interpret the works of these men to dishonour the gods who were
honoured by them.   If they believe in the wisdom of the men
whom they interpret, and whose * prophets * they profess to be,
let them first imitate their piety towards the gods.   If, on the
other hand, they feel that these men were in error in regard to the
highest truth, let them go into the churches of the Galilaeans and
interpret Matthew and Luke,"   In order to enforce his will in this
matter he further decreed that all the appointments of teachers by
the municipalities should bo subject to his approval.   In doing so
he established a precedent for the imperial control of education,
which was followed by his Christian successors and probably
employed by them against pagan teachers.   (By a law of Theo-
dosius and Valentinian in 425, it was made illegal to teach outside
the schools sanctioned by the State,)

With the death of Julian in the following yetir (363) the chances
of a revival of pagan culture came to an end. Probably the issue
would have been the same if he had lived. Hie indifference with
which his schemes were greeted even by those who were not
Christians showed that the old religions had lost their power as
working creeds. An it was, events speedily reverted to their
original course, and the decline of the schools which had begun
before Julian became more marked as the century drew to a close*
For this declension the progress of Christianity was to some extent
responsible. Pagan schools in a Christian or semi-Christian State
* Quoted Wttldm, Universities vf Anci&nt Greece, p, no.